Sky hand Lynx first loss in two months behind Prince’s 26 points
The Sky showed that they can hang with any team in the WNBA.
Chicago put on a resilient effort to defeat the defending WNBA Champions Minnesota Lynx 83-70. With the victory, the Sky handed the Lynx their first loss since the Olympic break and snapped their eleven game win streak.
Epiphanny Prince scored a game-high 26 points and dished out five helpers while Vandersloot had another spectacular performance as she finished with 17 points, four assists and three steals. Carolyn Swords, starting in place of the injured Sylvia Fowles, finished with eleven points and nine rebounds.
Maya Moore did all she could to keep the Lynx in it as she scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half. Rebekkah Brunson scored 17 points and Candice Wiggins had 14 points.
Both teams shot 46% from the field but the difference came on the boards as the Sky held the Lynx to only 24 rebounds. Chicago also forced Minnesota to commit 18 turnovers while only turning the ball over 13 times.
The Lynx came firing out of the gates and found themselves up 5-0 after a Monica Wright three-pointer and Moore layup to begin the game. The resilience of the Sky was on display though as they battled back to take a 7-6 lead after Vandersloot drilled a three from the baseline. Moments later, Sonja Petrovic would knock down a three followed by another Vandersloot trey as the Sky took a commanding 13-7 lead with 5:32 left in the quarter.
After a timeout from the Sky, Brunson scored six straight points for the Lynx to pull within two, 15-13. The teams would continue to exchange buckets as the Sky ended the quarter with a 23-22 lead. The Sky were 9-20 (45%) from the field while the Lynx were 7-14 (50%) in the quarter. Vandersloot led all scorers with eight points while Brunson paced the Lynx with seven.
The Sky came out in the second with stifling defense as they reeled off eight straight points to start the second and took a 31-22 lead before Minnesota could crack the scoreboard. The Lynx missed their first six shots of the quarter before Brunson hit a jumper from the elbow.
Leading 33-26 with 3:16 left, Prince hit a ridiculous off-balance shot to beat the shot clock and got fouled. After hitting the free throw, the Sky took a 36-26 lead. Chicago took a 40-29 lead into the half and the suffocating defense gave the Lynx problems. The defending champs were 3-15 (20%) in the quarter as they were outscored 17-7 in the quarter. Vandersloot led all scorers with ten points, while Prince and Petrovic chipped in with nine a piece. Brunson had nine points at the half for the Lynx.
In the third quarter, the Lynx showed everyone why they have won eleven straight games entering tonight. After being held to only four points in the first half, Moore and the Lynx put on a clinic in the third quarter from beyond the arc. Moore hit three of the four shots from the three-point line for the Lynx to narrow the gap to six, 61-55, heading into the fourth.
Moore scored eleven points in the quarter and the Lynx were right back into it. Prince led all scorers with 19 points after three quarters while Vandersloot had 12. The Lynx were shooting 49% while holding the Sky to 45% heading into the final period. Moore and Candice Wiggins led off the fourth with back-to-back three-pointers to tie the game up at 61 before Sky Head Coach Pokey Chatman called for a quick timeout. The Sky would respond with three quick buckets by Prince, Tamera Young and Carolyn Swords sandwiched between two free throws by Wiggins to extend the lead back to four, 67-63 with less than seven minutes to play in the game.
After three free throws by Prince, Moore and Brunson scored consecutive buckets for the Lynx to cut the lead to three, 70-67, before Swin Cash drained a huge three followed by a Swords layup to make it a 75-67 game with 3:42 left in the game.
Sandwiched between another Moore three-pointer, Vandersloot scored five straight points, including a spectacular traditional three-point play to give Chicago an 80-70 lead with 1:27 left in the game to seal the victory for the home team.
The Sky head on the road for a three game west coast trip, beginning with the Los Angeles Sparks on September 13th. The Sky won the first meeting, 85-74, earlier this month as they look to do the same in L.A. The tip is slated for a 9 p.m. CDT start and you can catch all the action on Comcast CN 100 or on WNBA LiveAccess by visiting us on the web at www.chicagosky.net.